Tag Archives: Crunch Time

Reaching Out to Make New Connections


The University of Texas Libraries reached out in new ways this past semester to actively engage patrons through initiatives demonstrating how the UT Libraries is evolving, changing in ways that might be unexpected, and honing services that are more relevant than ever before.

This fall the UT Libraries participated in a nationwide “Outside the Lines” initiative, in its nascent year, by showcasing services, hosting activities and highlighting treasures, and then expanded its “Crunch Time” initiative, now in its seventh year, to insert the Libraries collections, resources and experts into the flow of academic endeavor that culminates as midterms approached.

Concentrated within one week in mid-September, our incarnation of “Outside the Lines” (OTL) consisted of a Perry-Castaneda Library (PCL) Media Lab-sponsored activity enabling participants to make music with a robot or animate a cartoon, an open house for Chinese-speaking students, a slam poetry performance by Spitshine at the UT Poetry Center, an event co-sponsored by the departments of English, Middle Eastern Studies, Molecular Biology and Spanish and Portuguese, and the 5th Annual LLILAS Benson Student Photo Exhibition featuring photographs taken by students highlighting research, fieldwork and volunteer activities related to Latin America and U.S. Latino communities.

The culminating OTL activity, DJs spinning music from the Fine Art Library’s recently acquired KUT CD collection, was postponed due to rain but successfully paired with a subsequent Hearts of Texas State Employee Charitable Campaign (SECC) event on the PCL Plaza for a truly “Outside the Lines” mash up of music and philanthropic momentum.

“Crunch Time 2014” was sponsored by these seven UT Libraries in mid-October: Architecture and Planning, LLILAS Benson, Chemistry, Fine Arts, Life Science, PCL and Physics Mathematics Astronomy.  Each location featured Crunch Time handouts, mini-Nestle Crunch bars, and opportunities for students to get help with assignments, schedule a research consultation session with a subject specialist, and check out collections and places to study.

These exciting efforts yielded vital means for the UT Libraries to connect with a diverse array of UT students, library users, authors and members of the broader Austin community. Planning and execution of each of these events was achieved through cross-Libraries and campus-wide collaboration, as well as the talent, knowledge, and expertise of Libraries staff, presenters and the participants themselves.  These successful connections of people, resources, and spaces provided further evidence that the UT Libraries serve as nourishing places for learning, discovery and inspiration.

Surviving the Crunch

The days get shorter in more ways than you can imagine this time of the year, especially around the university campus as the final push of the semester evinces itself in the form of projects, papers and tests.

The Libraries does its part to help minimize the stress with a program meant to promote those resources and services that make the tasks at hand a tad less imposing.

This year’s Crunch Time outreach initiative highlighted library services and resources for students at The University of Texas at Austin between the hours of 11am-3pm on November 9, 10 &11. The program purpose is to promote the availability of in-person, drop-by assistance, subject librarian consultations, and the UT Libraries Ask a Librarian IM and email services.

During Crunch Time students are provided with Ask a Librarian contact cards attached to mini-Nestle Crunch bars, a series of time saving handouts and increased staffing at service points.  A brief survey to determine awareness of service options is made available from UT Libraries computer workstations across the campus, and students who participate are entered in a prize drawing.

First introduced by the Reference and Information Services department at UT’s Perry-Castaneda Library in 2008, Crunch Time has become an annual event and three additional UT Libraries locations participated this year, increasing its reach.

Statistics indicate that students took advantage of the program and more of them were connected with the information they wanted, at point of need, as a result. Of the three locations reporting, there were 536 queries, with a large number of those (199) occurring on Wednesday, November 10, at the Perry-Castañeda (105) and Fine Arts (94) Libraries. There were also 193 participants in the services web survey.

Jenifer Flaxbart is Head of Reference & Information Services for the University of Texas Libraries.

See more images from Crunch Time programs here.